Tag Archive: Fibromyalgia


Chronic Pain: End of My Rope

I try so hard to be positive but there are times when I just can’t manage it. In fact, I think often times it is just a cover: I plaster a smile on my face and pretend that I am really doing better than I am. But today the floodgates have opened and I am crying. My fibromyalgia pain is through the roof and there is no point in pretending I am okay, because I am not. I just am not. I am pretty much non-functional and I have been that way for a while. Pain and unrelenting mind-boggling fatigue. I never even knew it was possible to feel this much fatigue. Imagine not sleeping for a year, that is how bad it feels. My pain is from the top of my head to my very toes. Aching, sharp pains and muscle spasms.

Imagine trying to type a simple post like this. It takes forever. My brain is in a fog all the time, I can’t remember how to spell, forget grammar as well. My hand co-ordination is horrible. My eye-sight is fuzzy even with new glasses and magnifying the page. It is the way you see when you have not slept..

Imagine being home bound because you can’t drive anymore without having accidents. I use the dial-a-ride service for the disabled. But when I go out I can’t enjoy myself. A simple shopping trip is torture. I use a cane because my balance is off. I once broke my knee in a fall. My muscles feel incredibly weak and heavy. I go to Walmart and first I go to the in-store McDonalds and treat myself. Then I slowly make my way around the store. I have to take breaks and sit down. It is especially trying if I need to get stuff from both sides of the store.

I used to enjoy browsing, now I can’t do it. I need new clothes and the thought of having to look and try them on is overwhelming.

It may take several days to recover from my shopping. The pain and fatigue is always worse afterwards.

All I can say is if you have good health, treasure it! I am 50 years old going on 90.

Needless to say this is not conducive to good mental health. For a long time before I got sick and when I was working at the mental health social center I thought I would never be depressed again. Never say never I guess.

Conventional medicine has no answers for this except medication. I am already on a ton of medication for bipolar disorder. Some of the medications I take actually are used to treat fibromyalgia as well as they are supposed to reduce nerve pain. But they don’t work for me.

Another option is addictive pain killers. No thanks, I already got in trouble with sleeping pills and tranquilizers years back. Besides one of the insidious affects of pain pills is that your body can get used to them and they are not as effective. So the dose has to be raised. This leads to addiction but that is not all. I have read comments on online forums from people with fibromyalgia where they say that they keep having to be put on harder and harder drugs to get relief, but there obviously is a limit to how big a dose you can get without killing yourself. What ends up happening is that they run out of options, even the strongest ones don’t work anymore.

Now I will say that everyone reacts to medications differently so not everyone has this problem. But the operative word here is “tolerance” People who get addicted to medications when their bodies process medications differently than other people. I have already had that experience with tranquilizers and sleeping pills where the effects wore off and the doctor just kept raising the dosage. After a while I was in a constant state of withdrawal and started to abuse them both.

By the way a good doctor will monitor a patient for signs of tolerance. Mine didn’t. I just thought my symptoms were getting worse. I had never done drugs in my life and so it never occurred to me that I could become an addict.

So…what are my options? I can’t go on this way, that is for sure. Truth be told, many times I do not want to live anymore. But I am not going to take that road again. I have hurt people before with my suicide attempts and I am not going to do that again. But there are times when I pray for God to take me. Since I am still here I guess I know what the answer is.

I am going to do some research online on using meditation for pain management. I have not thought too much about it because frankly, it is pretty difficult to meditate when you are in pain. But since I keep seeing headlines that say that meditation helps then maybe I should look more closely. Maybe it is a different method than what I have tried before.

I just want to get functional again and maybe even have a little joy in my life. I may never get the life back that I used to have, but I just need to stop this black hole that is eating me alive.

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Pain, Pain, Go Away…

Day 37 - Pain

Day 37 – Pain (Photo credit: DJorgensen)

I haven’t been writing lately, maybe because I feel like I should be doing better than I am, which is really nothing more than pride. I do not look down on others when they are having a rough time, but me? I am supposed to be the inspiration for others! I am supposed to be enlightened!

Forget that. I am in horrible pain with  fibromyalgia and I am mad at myself and fate.  I don’t want this. Last night I tried to make my body go numb to help stop the physical pain. It is a spontaneous thing I have done at times when mental pain has gotten too bad, a form of checking out. It actually helped this time, but only for a little while. My nerves are sensitized to pain and I figure that maybe through my mind I can “unsensitize” them.  I try to envision waves of light healing me, but it doesn’t help.

I am trying aromatherapy baths with Lavender oil and sometimes it helps and other times it doesn’t. Or it only helps for a little while. I have bought other essential oils to try, but they can be expensive. I have just made a call to set up an appointment with a massage therapist, another expense I don’t want to pay, but I am desperate right now.

The combination of having a mental disorder and a chronic pain and fatigue condition is overwhelming. A favorite author of mine, Kathleen Crowley knows about this first hand. I became familiar with her writing when I worked at a mental health social center. We used her book, The Power of Procovery in Healing Mental Illness, in one of our classes. Her first book, The Day Room: A Memoir of Madness and Mending, chronicles her journey through dealing with the effects of nerve damage due to medical malpractice. Nothing helped the pain and she ended up with a mental breakdown. Somehow this woman managed to recover her sanity and deal with the pain, which she has to this day. Although I found her book an inspiring read, I still feel something is missing because she really did not get into specifics about how she learned to deal with her physical pain. I actually met her a long time ago, at a mental health training I went to, and I wish I had ask her about that, but then I was not in bad pain at that time.

Still both books I recommend, especially The Power of Procovery. “Procovery” is a word she coined to express the idea that we need to let go of our old life in order to move forward and it’s mantra is “Just Start Anywhere!” This is good to remember now when I need to remember that I just need to take small steps to help myself instead of being completely helpless.

I have to confess that while I am very good at teaching others, I am often a bad student. I need to get back to the basics. It is hard though, because I want that magic formula that will give me my life back.

I hate having to push myself to do anything at all. Going to the mental health center where I get support is a challenge when I am hurting physically and mentally. But what other choice do I have? I am not going down the road of self-destruction again. if not for myself, at least for my family.

The truth is that I really don’t want to die, I just don’t want to live like this anymore. But there is a part of me that knows that my time here is not finished and that I am meant to accomplish more tasks. Last week I was sobbing to my therapist, saying “I want to matter!” Of course the truth is that I do matter, in some small way to others and my work isn’t done. But there is fear, a lot of fear, not only about my physical condition but because I am afraid of life, of reaching out. I hide my pain because I do not want to burden others and also because I am afraid of rejection. Even rejection by my readers, whom I think will condemn me for not being “spiritual enough.”

Okay I tell myself “You are human. Get over yourself!”

Any thoughts and advice would be welcome. 😉

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Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I posted this almost a year ago and after reading this again I feel that it speaks to me as much as anyone else. My challenge has less to do with my bipolar disorder and more to do with the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue that I experience. I am trying new treatments but there is no guarantee that they will work. So the question on my mind is how do I create new dreams that are both fulfilling and also attainable? Of course everyone who has gone through a serious mental illness or physical illness asks these sort of questions.  To give up and spend the rest of your life watching TV is not what most people want. For me it has been hard not to feel useless and I always do best when I am working a fulfilling job.

This post is designed to stimulate thinking, not provide concrete answers. Ultimately it is up to the person as to how much they think they can handle. But even a little bit of effort can go a long way!

Making New Dreams

Every blade of grass has its’ angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’ The Talmud

Every one of us has that divine spark of life that strives for fulfillment. Just because we have an illness does not mean that we have to give up our dreams and crawl under the covers. A diagnosis is not a life-sentence. Read  more here…

A Recipe For Recovery

English: Illustration of the pain pathway in R...

English: Illustration of the pain pathway in René Descartes’ Traite de l’homme (Treatise of Man) 1664. The long fiber running from the foot to the cavity in the head is pulled by the heat and releases a fluid that makes the muscles contract. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the keys to dealing with depression is doing little steps every day to improve the quality of your life. This is also true with any chronic illness. I myself am also dealing with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Having both mental and  physical problems make it a challenge for me to stay positive.

Today for example I woke up exhausted and in a lot of pain.  Naturally that made me depressed too. I would have liked nothing but to stay in bed all day. But I couldn’t do that because that only makes the pain worse. My muscles become stiff without some activity.

My usual pattern has been to turn on the TV and sink into an even more morose state. I feel like there is nothing I can do but endure the pain, both physical and mental.

But now I am doing something different. I may not be able to eliminate my problems, but I can do little things that can make my life more bearable.

So today I took a hot bath with mineral salts and real lavender essential oil. That soothed my mind and warmed up my muscles. Then I was able to do some simple stretches. After that, I did some inspirational reading.

That doesn’t sound like much but it did help.  The key for me is to take little steps to move forward.  It is more than just filling my day, it is about feeding my body and spirit. It is a recipe for recovery.

I intend to slowly add some yoga and ride my exercise bike. And try some meditation and other spiritual exercises. Read more positive books instead of focusing on all the bad stuff going on in the world. I know from past experience that these things really help.

It really is a choice of whether I want to be sucked down into the abyss or if I want to rise above it. I choose the latter.

It’s a no-brainer.  😉